Exceptional people come in all walks of life, but few are more impressive than the drivers in this year's NPTC Hall of Fame.
Clarence Edward Almond, J.F. Fick, Inc., who has driven a beer truck for the past 30 years, has an impeccable safety record : No accidents or moving violations while logging more than 90,000 hours during a 40-year career. Driving a beer truck is tough work. But the job also involves loading and unloading heavy, slippery beverage products, which increases the chance of on-the-job injuries. Despite this risk, Clarence has never had a work-related injury.
For his many years of extraordinary service, Almond has been recognized by the Virginia's Governor and U.S. Senators, as well as the State's General Assembly
When he's not driving for J.F. Fick, Almond raises beef cattle in rural Virginia and maintains a family of deer-hunting dogs.
Fonzy C. Comans, Praxair, Inc., learned to drive at age 10 when he plowed cotton- and corn-fields on his family's farm using a SUPER A One-Row Farmall. When he was 15, Comans started driving a truck to haul peaches. He has logged 4.5-million accident-free miles over a 39-year career as a professional truck driver, 18 of them with Praxair. Known for his outstanding work ethic and positive attitude, Comans has completed all the safety courses offered by his company. In addition, he helps train new drivers, teaching them how to reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Comans, who has been married for over 40 years, has three children and six grandchildren. In his spare time, he volunteers to help elderly people in his community and goes fishing in his own bass boat.
Vernon E. Good, BOC, Inc., also got his driving start on a farm: At age 16, his father taught him to haul hay. Since then, he has driven over 4-million miles without a preventable accident during a 40-year career. He has driven hazardous materials for BOC for 31 years.
Good is a strong believer in the “safety first” approach to driving. His goal was to never be involved in an accident. Good accomplished this by staying alert, avoiding accidents-in-the-making situations, watching other vehicles closely, driving the speed limit and never tail-gating. Vern's obsession with safety has paid off. He received special recognition from the National Safety Council's 1-million mile club in l984, and again in 1998 for the 3-million mile club.
A collector of dye-cast scale model cars, Vern enjoys spending time with his family when not on the road.
Donald C. Nutt, Emerson Transportation Div., followed in his father's footsteps as a driver for Emerson. Nutt, who has driven over 2.8-million miles during 26 years of service with Emerson, keeps his safety knowledge and skills up to date by reviewing safety films at driver's meetings, reading safety flyers and staying abreast of new safety procedures. He credits his father's safe driving record as a motivating factor in his decision to become a professional truck driver.
Justifiably proud of his safe driving record, Nutt has been recognized by Emerson for each of the past 25 years for his exceptional safety performance, and was named “Driver of the Month” in 2001. He has served on Emerson's Driver Review Board, and has been a mentor for new drivers. During his free time, Don enjoys golfing, boating, fishing, watching sports and spending time with his family.
NPTC proudly salutes these outstanding professional drivers.
Gary Petty is President and CEO of NPTC. His column appears monthly in FLEET OWNER.